Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tips for healthy living in 2013? Be positive, pray, goof around

Eat your veggies. Don't smoke. Get some exercise. Watch your weight. 

Those are good tips for staying healthy. They're also uttered so often that they go unheard by many.
Several health experts in the region gave fresh suggestions — some of them philosophical — on how to improve your health in 2013 and have a better, safer life. 

Here they are: 

» Enjoy downtime. “We don't allow ourselves opportunities to just let down,” said Dr. Donald Darst, president of Midwest Regional Health Services. “We just put ourselves through way too much. Everything has to be go, go, go, go.”
» Pray. You are more than just a physical creature, said Dr. H. Dele Davies, vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “You have a mind, and you have a spirit.” Those who pray are happier, more satisfied. “It's controversial, but it's certainly something that I believe,” Davies said.
» Spend less time in front of screens. Go do something, said Cindy Brison, extension educator for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Douglas and Sarpy Counties. Doing stuff instead of looking at televisions and computers means “living life instead of being a voyeur,” Brison said.
» Spend more time with family. Brison said people always say they want to make family a priority. Do it.
» Know your medical numbers. Have a primary care physician who will go through vital numbers with you. Those numbers include cholesterol, blood pressure and body mass index, or BMI, said Dr. Steph Erickson, a family physician with Alegent Creighton Clinic.
» Goof around. Having fun at work builds camaraderie, breaks down cliques and cuts tension, Darst said.
» Be ergonomically sound. Make sure you use good body positioning and posture. This reduces muscle tension, pain and repetitive strain injuries, said Rebecca Tomhave, clinic nurse for employee health at St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center in Lincoln.
» Be positive. People who feel hopeless do worse in fighting disease and living life, Davies said. “We know that the mind has a strong influence on physical health.”
» Practice household safety. Have an escape plan in case of fire, and make sure your kids know how to open the windows, Erickson said. Assess tripping hazards, make sure the gas stove works properly and don't overtax electrical outlets.
» Review your medications. Go through your medications with your pharmacist or physician, said Amy Friedman Wilson, director of the Creighton Center for Drug Information. Make sure your meds are appropriate for your current condition and that none interact negatively. This includes natural supplements and over-the-counter drugs.
» Treat people with dignity. It helps not only others but you as well, said Dr. Ruth Margalit, director of UNMC's Service Learning Academy. “You gain just as much as you give because it opens you to the opportunity to learn from people.” 

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